Summary: This paper examines the impact of the recent banking crises in Europe and Central Asia on households' incomes and consumption patterns. The analysis is based on the 2010 wave of the Life in Transition Survey, which covers 12,704 households in eleven countries that experienced a banking crisis between 2008 and 2011. It finds that households in middle-income crisis countries are more than twice as likely to be hit by an income shock as households in high-income crisis countries. The labor market channel is the predominant source of income shocks, with wage reductions more widespread than job-losses. In reaction to income shocks, households reallocate spending from non-essential goods to staple foods. Reductions in staple-food consumption are, however, prevalent among low-income households. The paper examines potential crisis mitigators and finds that at the macro level a flexible monetary regime is associated with fewer cutbacks in household consumption. At the meso level, it finds no evidence that foreign bank ownership amplified the transmission of banking crises to households in Europe. With respect to micro-level mitigators, the analysis finds that diversified income sources as well as stocks of non-financial and financial assets help households to cushion income shocks. Access to informal and formal credit also mitigates the impact of income shocks on household consumption, with the former especially important in middle-income countries.
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